Human Resources

Increase Employee Retention with Career Pathing

By EverwiseOctober 22, 2017

As businesses compete to attract top-notch talent, the need to retain and engage existing employees becomes increasingly important.

One option: help employees with their career development. One in four Millennials would switch from their current job to do something new, or join another organization. By offering career pathing, you’ll motivate these employees to invest in their career at your company.

Unfortunately, most professional development falls into one-size-fits-all programs. Even when employees have access to such programs, actionable learnings from the curriculum can be few and far between.

The solution is simple. Offer scalable, personalized learnings that help employees find a career path tailored to them.

Read on to learn what effective career pathing for Millennials looks like and how, exactly, it will help your company.

Provide Career Development that Actually Works

Effective career pathing isn’t about helping an employee fill in an open role. Rather, career development should focus on employee growth and learning rather than solely your company’s needs.

Focus on three aspects of your employee’s professional development:

  • Identifying strengths and competencies
  • Identifying skill gaps
  • Considering a few career path options based on the above

Kick off the process by listening. Ask targeted questions to learn perceived competencies, skill gaps and career objectives. Some sample questions to consider:

To identify competencies:

  • Which projects are you most proud of that you’ve finished here?
  • What is your favorite part of your job?
  • What do you think your manager would say is your biggest strength?

To identify skill gaps:

  • Which projects have you struggled with most in this role?
  • What’s your least favorite part of your day-to-day?
  • When do you ask for help most often?

To identify career objectives:

  • What parts of your role do you want to do more of? Less of?
  • What don’t you do in your current role that you’d like to?
  • What would you like to learn next?

From there, map out a few career paths within your organization. Having a company leveling structure in place is helpful here. The levels can help you identify the next steps and skills needed for each possible move.

Mapping out options is crucial. Many companies just offer the one obvious or pre-determined next step. This doesn’t work; 60% of HR leaders believe their businesses have clear career paths, while just 36% of their employees agree. Consider everything, from a promotion to a lateral move or shift in responsibilities.

Next, build a career development plan together to strengthen those competencies and skill gaps. Your plan should use the 70:20:10 learning model and focus on personalized growth opportunities. Some ways you can help the employee learn and grow:


  • On-the-job learning: Encourage the employee to take on stretch assignments, like leading a new cross-functional initiative.
  • Mentorship and support systems: Assign mentor/mentee relationships and set up regular check-ins. Introduce the employee to leaders outside of your organization.

And check in on progress. Coach, rather than manage, the employee’s growth. In one-on-one meetings, for instance, focus on strength development more than existing tasks. Also consider holding 360 reviews for employees and managers. By getting feedback, you’ll ensure that you’re helping the employee in the best way you can.

Why Career Pathing Will Help Your Business

While career advancement is important to 83% of employees, only 20% feel very satisfied with how their company handles career planning. Addressing the career advancement of your employees will demonstrate you’re dedicated to their growth, something especially important to Millennials in the workforce. It will also improve engagement, increase retention and save time and money:

Improved engagement: When employees feel invested in, they engage with their current roles and future roles. And engaged employees are happier, more productive, and almost 90% less likely to leave their jobs.

Increased retention: Internal movement also encourages loyalty; employees stay if they believe in their advancement. In fact, for every 100 internal moves, companies keep 38 employees who would have left otherwise.

Money and time saved: Recruiting externally is 1.7 times more expensive than recruiting internally ($15,008 compared with $8,676). Internal hires can also onboard to a new role quicker than external hires; they already understand company culture, goals, and objectives.



About the Author

Everwise connects employees with the people, resources and feedback they need to be more productive and successful at every stage of their career. Request a Demo:

Related Articles

It’s easy to run better programs with the right tool.

  • Request demo
  • New LIVE course: Essentials of Emotional Intelligence with Daniel Goleman.

    Register Today!